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Pew Study: Pope Francis’ Visit to America Had Positive Impact


If polls and anecdotal evidence are true, parishes should be ready to practice discipleship.

Is there evidence of a significantly positive post-Francis visit impact on the American religious scene? Why yes, Virginia, there is. The most critical question for evangelically-minded Catholics is how Pope Francis’ visit did or did not change American views of the Catholic Church, in addition to how it has affected views of the Pontiff himself.

I am drawing from two different studies. The first was conducted between October 1 – 4, 2015 and released on October 7, 2015 by the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life. The Pew study is entitled Positive Impact of Pope Francis on Views of the Church, Especially Among Democrats and Liberals. The second poll is from the St. Leo Polling Institute, located at St. Leo University, whose survey of 1,000 people was conducted between September 27 – 29, 2015.

US Adults as a whole

The Pew survey found that Francis’ personal overall favorability ratings rose a bit to 68%. (For perspective, 61% of Americans viewed Pope Benedict  favorably immediately after his 2008 visit.) What is particularly interesting is that 35% of US adults interviewed now view Pope Francis “very favorably”.

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